“Enlightening” is not a word that should be tossed around lightly, but this essay by eighth-grader Ayumi Takada really is just that.
Ten years ago, I used to read a lot of books. Now, I read a lot of content, which is to say, blogs and online articles. But when I read something that sticks with me, even for a fleeting moment, I still want to reach for a highlighter and shade the words fluorescent yellow, so I can find that part again later. And I’m not alone in my instinctive response to treat the digital word in the same way I do printed material. There’s a reason browsers still call it a “bookmark” when we save a webpage.
There are all kinds of great English-language blogs about Japan out there. But there are also a number of stand-alone articles that, over the years, I’ve read again and again – and they still make me want to grab my highlighter and start collecting quotes. I’ve put them together into this short list, which we may think of as a small (highly subjective) foreigners-living-in-Japan canon: seminal pieces of writing from around the internet.
Some of these are very long. Some are controversial. All of them have stayed with me for some reason or another, and maybe they’ll stick with you too.
Haruki Murakami, the award-winning essayist and critically-acclaimed author of Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore and many others, has spoken out about the recent troubles between Japan, China and Taiwan in a startlingly down-to-earth essay over on the Asahi Shinbun Digital’s culture section.
Motivated in particular by the recent news of China’s bookshops removing titles by Japanese authors, the essay focuses on the importance of cultural exchange in our societies and how, through all forms of media, we are able to communicate our very souls over seas and across borders. Read More